I don’t even know where to start in writing this letter. The past 2 years has passed in the blink of an eye and here we are rounding the corner into year 3 of Triple Play Sports! There are several things I want to touch on in this letter, but before we get too far ahead, I want to take a moment to recognize a very special person in our operation.
Rewind to August 2014, and you would find a 22-year-old with no idea what he would do for the rest of his life. As I mentioned in last year’s letter, I’ve wanted to provide a baseball facility for Council Bluffs since I was 12 years old, however until 2014 I wasn’t mature or smart enough to run my own business and I definitely didn’t have the capital to purchase a building the size of what we would need for Triple Play Sports. My old elementary school, Walnut Grove, had just closed and I knew the building would be empty. So, I emailed Dr. Bruckner (Council Bluffs Community School District Superintendent) about what my vision was and asked to have a face to face meeting with her about me potentially using Walnut Grove. She could have easily either deleted my email or ignored it, but she responded very promptly with a date and time that she was free to talk. I show up to this meeting dressed up nice, nervous as could be, and developing a pool of sweat under my armpits. This meeting was the most important of my life because if I couldn’t convince her that this was a good idea, then it probably never would have come to fruition. To my surprise, Dr. Bruckner was very open to the idea, but informed me that unfortunately they were selling Walnut Grove to a development startup to build new houses. Then she said “But I know the old Pusey Elementary school will be empty coming up in October so we could set up a tour of that building if you would like?” I jumped on it in a heartbeat, and loved the space. If it weren’t for Dr. Bruckner meeting with me, we wouldn’t be open today and I will forever be grateful for that!
Since we opened in January 2015, I have had the privilege of working with a ton of great kids who have tirelessly helped create the culture we have today. Kids like Tyler Burns and Reece Blay who work out with the younger kids and set good examples are just as important as Deric and I are. One of the things that make us unique is that we are membership based. We aren’t interested in just collecting checks for a few lessons and then sending kids on their way. We build relationships with the kids who come and we give them something to dream for. Therefore, when parents contact us about lessons, we always steer them towards the membership option. Our culture embodies kids of all ages working together to achieve their goals. It truly is a special sight when you see 9 and 10-year-old kids working out with Tyler, Reece, and Joel Thompson (three high schoolers who are on their way to playing college baseball).
With that being said, I would like to congratulate Reece Blay and Joel Thompson on their commitments this fall to play college baseball next year. Joel committed to the University of Iowa and Reece committed to Southeastern Community College. When Reece joined as a member a little over a year ago, I asked him what his goals were and one of them was to play college baseball. I told him that day that we would do whatever we needed to do to make his dream come true. From that point forward, there hasn’t been a harder worker. His determination and work ethic propelled him to becoming a serious threat on the baseball field, and ultimately led to him being awarded 2nd team All State in class 4A (the highest class in Iowa). Joel was a little different. People that come to the facility know that a year ago, Joel and I had a few disagreements. I questioned his work ethic at times, and it turned out to be a good thing for him. He proved me wrong in every facet of our arguments. He worked his ass off this past year and a half. He was a good role model for all the younger kids. He was the epitome of a kid chasing his dreams. His hard work earned him 1st team All State in Class 4A, Iowa’s Super 1st Team All State for all classes, a top 500 national ranking according to Perfect Game, and ultimately his scholarship to Iowa. Joel, when you read this, just know that you will always hold a special place in my heart and I have the utmost respect for you as an athlete, but more importantly a person. For you Reece, I don’t think you realize the impact you have made not just on me, but every young kid that comes to the facility as well. You are a very special person, and I know the sky is the limit for you in everything you do!
The last thing I would like to touch on before I wrap up this year’s letter is our culture and the growth of that culture. From year 1 to year 2, we have doubled our memberships. This is a direct result of people recognizing the impact we have on their kids and the kids who were members in the first year coming back for the second year. I truly feel that there is not a better atmosphere in the Omaha metro when it comes to baseball training. As we head into our third year, our goal is to continue getting more members and doing whatever we can to make them the best players and people they can be. The effect that the kids have on us is indescribable and that is what keeps us pushing harder and harder every day. My life would not be the same if it weren’t for this facility and the kids we get to work with!
From our family to yours, we wish you all a Happy Holidays, a great New Year, and an exceptional 2017!